Updated May 13, 2018

Many states ban teacher strikes. It hasn't stopped them yet

Teachers in Arizona, Colorado, Oklahoma, Kentucky and West Virginia have walked out of classrooms in search of better pay and working conditions for them and their students, but in most cases they're not legally allowed to do so because of state laws preventing public employee strikes.

Expand chart
Note: Data as of 2014; Data: Center for Economic and Policy Research; Chart: Chris Canipe/Axios

The big picture: Teachers could face punishment from the state and potentially lose their jobs over strikes, but it's unlikely they will.

Employees are not required to join unions in right-to-work states, which means they don't have to pay union fees. It also means that there is no officially recognized collective bargaining unit for those employees.

Most states have laws that either limit public employee's ability to strike or abolish their right to strike completely.

You really just can’t have a strong union movement in a right to work state.
— Angela Cornell, Labor Law director at Cornell University

Yes, but: If teachers face consequences, they can't be too harsh as there are too many teachers to be fired and relations may remain sour if teachers are let go, Cornell told Axios.

  • More than 50,000 teachers were striking in Arizona last week. Another 10,000 were striking in Colorado.
  • 36,000 were striking in Oklahoma in April, according to reports.
  • Teachers across 26 counties in Kentucky took part in the sick-out in March.

The backdrop: Legislators have tried to block teachers from striking before through bills, but two have already failed this year — one in Oregon and another last week in Colorado.

Teachers aren't afraid of any bills coming down from state capitals. With mid-term elections coming up in November, they believe they hold the power.

Go deeper

China approves Hong Kong national security law

Hong Kong riot police round up a group of protesters during a demonstration on Wednesday. Photo: Willie Siau/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Chinese lawmakers approved a plan on Thursday for a sweeping national security law for Hong Kong that would criminalize sedition, foreign influence and secession in the Asian financial hub, per the New York Times.

Why it matters: The move comes hours after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in response to the plan that the certified to Congress that Hong Kong is no longer autonomous from China and does not warrant special treatment under U.S. law.

Go deeper: Hong Kong's economic future hangs in the balance

Editor's note: This is a developing news story. Please check back for updates.

8 mins ago - World

Minneapolis unrest as hundreds protest death of George Floyd

Protesters and police clash during demonstration on Wednesday over the death of George Floyd in custody outside the Third Police Precinct. Photo: Kerem Yucel/AFP via Getty Images

A man died in a Minneapolis shooting during a second night of clashes between police and protesters in the city over the death of George Floyd, an African American man who died in police custody, per AP.

The latest: Police said officers were responding to reports of a stabbing just before 9:30 p.m. and found a man lying in "grave condition on the sidewalk" with a gunshot wound, CBS Minnesota reports. On man is in custody over the incident.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 5,695,968 — Total deaths: 355,701 — Total recoveries — 2,351,638Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 1,699,933 — Total deaths: 100,442 — Total recoveries: 391,508 — Total tested: 15,192,481Map.
  3. Public health: CDC issues guidelines for reopening officesFauci says data is "really quite evident" against hydroxychloroquine.
  4. States: California hospitals strained by patients in MexicoTexas Supreme Court blocks mail-in expansion to state voters.
  5. Business: MGM plans to reopen major Las Vegas resorts in June — African American business owners have seen less relief from PPP, Goldman Sachs says.
  6. Tech: AI will help in the pandemic — but it might not be in time for this one.
  7. World: EU proposes a massive pandemic rescue package.
  8. 1 🎶 thing: Local music venues get rocked by coronavirus.
  9. 🎧 Podcast: Trump vs. Twitter ... vs. Trump.
  10. What should I do? When you can be around others after contracting the coronavirus — Traveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  11. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

Updated 59 mins ago - Politics & Policy